A casino is a facility where people can gamble and play games of chance. The word is derived from the Latin cazino, meaning “little house.” The casino industry is a major source of employment and it provides numerous entertainment opportunities. People from all over the world visit casinos to place bets on a variety of games. Some of the more popular games include baccarat, blackjack, roulette and video poker. Many of these games have a high degree of skill involved.
In the United States, casinos are regulated by state laws. Originally, the only legal gambling establishments in America were in Nevada, but other states began to realize that they could capitalize on the “destination” tourists attracted by Las Vegas. Casinos became very popular with organized crime figures as well because they provided an excellent source of income. Mafia money flowed into Reno and Las Vegas, where mobster-owned casinos arose. In some cases, the mobsters took sole or partial ownership of these establishments and exerted significant control over their operations.
Besides providing an atmosphere that is designed around noise and light, the casinos also offer food and drinks to their patrons for free or at reduced prices. These inducements are called comps. Casinos make much of their profit from large bettors, whose wagers can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. These high-rollers are usually given extravagant inducements, such as free spectacular entertainment, transportation and elegant living quarters, in addition to their gambling proceeds.